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Richard Burgi interview

With five soap stints under his belt (the last as GH’s Paul Hornsby from 2015-16), Richard Burgi was already a bonafide daytime veteran when he was tapped by Y&R to play the recurring role of the wealthy and ruthless media magnate Ashland Locke. “How my name got bandied about, I have no idea, but they called and said, ‘There’s an offer for you to do YOUNG AND RESTLESS, there’s really no big commitment, it’s super-loose,’ and I said, ‘God, that sounds awesome.’ ” the actor relayed on the Dishing With Digest podcast. “I didn’t have to travel, I didn’t have to quarantine, and the hours are brilliant; I love daytime hours and I love the challenge. It was nice to know that I’m still wanted in daytime. ”

Burgi already had a couple of connections to Y&R. “I had worked with Jason [Thompson, Billy; ex-Patrick, GH] on GENERAL HOSPITAL and I remember Peter Bergman [Jack] was a lovely guy when I met him at something like a press junket or through mutual friends but that was my only experience with Y&R,” he recounts. “I’ve always loved Eric’s [Braeden, Victor] work. I’m sitting in Doug Davidson’s [Paul] dressing room and when I realize how long he’s been on the show, I’m just astounded by the longevity and the fortitude to stay with that. They gave me a manila envelope and I thought it was a script but it happened to be Melody Thomas Scott’s [Nikki] book and I couldn’t put it down. Here’s another one who has been on for 40-plus years and it was jaw-droppingly compelling reading her story. I have so much compassion and respect for my colleagues.”

Because of strict Covid safeguards, Burgi found his first day on the Y&R set to be “strange because I never got to really connect with anyone [since] we all have masks on. Everybody was super-lovely and welcoming. I think I went through the first day without screwing up. I hadn’t done daytime in a while and had to digest all of the dialogue. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do it, so I was really prepared…. It was a bunch of lovely people trying to collectively make a buck and keep people entertained during this crazy time.”

Despite Ashland’s cutthroat approach to life, Burgi found interesting parallels between him and his character. “I’m remarried and have a younger wife, and I have a child that’s not mine biologically but I’m raising as my own,” he explains. “What would it be like to have a child you think is your own but is not? Would that change your love for him? What would it be like if the rug was suddenly slipped out from under you that this is no longer yours and how would that change? It’s interesting the journey that I’m on with this.”

Burgi is looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for his new alter ego. “The last script I read, Kyle has come back to confront me and I hope he doesn’t hit me because he’s a pretty strong guy,” he chuckles. “I worked with Michelle Stafford [Phyllis], and we did a little scene so I don’t know if that was throwing some seeds out. Who knows? I don’t ask but they’ve had me with a few people. Ashland is looking to stir the pot in more ways than one. I love daytime and I’m glad to be back.”